The 21st internationale conference of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society: Nietzsche, Life, and the Art of Living

University of Hull, Scarborough Campus 18-20 September 2015


Without doubt, the concept of life holds a preeminent place in Nietzsche’s thought, and he is often depicted, along with the likes of Wilhelm Dilthey and Henri Bergson, as part of  the tradition of  ‘the philosophy of life’ (Lebensphilosophie).  This conference proposes to undertake a fresh examination of Nietzsche as a philosopher of life and to inquire into the connections between the concerns of the philosophy of life and those of the art of living in his work and its legacy: How are physics and ethics related in Nietzsche? And how are we to understand the aesthetic turn he often gives to his ethical proposals? These and related questions will be considered in the light of philosophy’s traditional claim over other disciplines to be able to teach the art (techne) of conducting one’s life; and the aesthetic  tradition popularised by Foucault in the 1980s under the labels ‘the aesthetics of existence’ and ‘care of the self’.  The conference will feature plenary talks by leading figures in this field of Nietzsche-studies.

Confirmed plenary speakers:

 Kathleen Higgins (University of Texas at Austin)

Alexander Nehamas (Princeton University)

Paul van Tongeren (Radboud University Nijmegen)

The Society welcomes abstracts for 30-minute papers on the following topics:

  • Nietzsche’s relation to the tradition of the philosophy of life, including his reception of, and relation to, forgotten and neglected figures in this tradition.
  • Nietzsche’s relation to ‘life’ thinking from Aristotle to Heidegger.
  • The status and role of the will to power in his mature philosophy.
  • Nietzsche’s relation to current developments in complexity thinking in the new physics and the new biology.
  • The ethics of life, including questions of normativity, eudemonia or flourishing, affirmation and perfectionism.
  • The relation between physics (physis) and ethics (ethos) in Nietzsche’s thinking, including key notions like: self-knowledge, self-discovery, self-transformation, experiment, attempt (Versuch)
  • Nietzsche’s relation to the traditions of the art of living, including Socratic, Hellenistic, and modern sources and trajectories.
  • The turn from the work of art to human life as work in Nietzsche, including key notions like: self-stylisation, self-legislation, self-creation.
  • Nietzsche’s relation to the ‘aesthetics of existence’ (Foucault) as a form of individual self-realisation.

Abstracts should be no longer than 400 words. Please submit your abstract by email to as a pdf attachment prepared for blind review, by 31 March 2015.

In the body of the email, please state:

  • the title of the paper
  • your name and institutional affiliation
  • your preferred email contact address

In the subject line of the email, please state only the following:


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